LeBron Tweets #freewoj, Ignores #freehongkong

The NBA, Disney and ESPN are in the midst of a serious crisis, their stated claim to care about social justice issues has run headlong into their clear hypocrisy when it comes to taking billions of dollars from China, the richest country most opposed to basic human rights in the world today. The lesson here is straightforward: the NBA is a social justice warrior driven league so long as that social justice warriordom doesn’t actually impact their pocketbooks.

Because the minute the league, its players and its coaches face a real threat to their pocketbooks, they shut up and dribble so they can keep cashing that Chinese communist money.

Yesterday LeBron James Tweeted #freewoj. The hashtag gained popularity on Twitter yesterday after Outkick broke the news Adrian Wojnarowski had been suspended for emailing Missouri senator Josh Hawley, “Fuck you,” two minutes after Hawley sent Woj an email pointing out the NBA’s hypocrisy when it comes to Hong Kong and China. Woj has now been suspended for a couple of weeks by ESPN.

LeBron’s willingness to support Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter even though Woj will bear no lasting effect from his stupid email is typical of Twitter’s version of social justice. Send a message from your phone which doesn’t take much time or energy and you’ve done your part to advance important causes! Woj doesn’t need to be freed. He’s still completely free, he just gets a couple of weeks of additional vacation. Woj is still going to make millions of dollars and he’s probably earned woke credibility points with NBA players by disrespecting a Republican senator who had the audacity to question the NBA’s hypocritical relationship with China.

But you know who isn’t free?

Billions of Chinese citizens and millions in Hong Kong.

By Tweeting out #freewoj LeBron has put himself squarely in a hypocritical space, supporting a rich white dude who is already free, Woj, while ignoring billions of Chinese who aren’t free. Why is LeBron unwilling to criticize his Chinese masters and back Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and Tweet #freehongkong? Because if he does Space Jam 2 might not play in Beijing theaters and his Nike sneakers might not be available in Chinese shopping malls.

LeBron is all about social justice warriordom until it actually threatens his pocketbook.

Then he shuts up and dribbles.

More than an athlete?


LeBron fancies himself a modern day Muhammad Ali. Well, Ali went to jail and lost his heavyweight title for opposing the Vietnam War, which was an incredibly controversial decision at the time. Meanwhile LeBron’s turned social justice warriordom into a way to make even more money. He hasn’t given up anything at all, he’s bamboozled the American public into thinking he’s taking stands while actually standing up for dictators in China.

Unfortunately LeBron is not alone.

NBA players, coaches, executives and the media that cover the league gleefully rip American political institutions to the high heavens, but they won’t say a word of negativity about the situation in Hong Kong or China. Woke players, coaches, executives and the media that cover them love to talk about being on the right side of history, but on the biggest issue of their lives they’re supporting China and firmly on the wrong side of history.

Do you know what Hong Kong protesters are using to protest now?

The American flag.

The same American flag that American athletes refuse to respect by standing for the national anthem.

It’s an incredible irony, those who aren’t fortunate enough to have American rights support it more than those who actually have American rights.

Look, those who study history know there has never been a greater voice for justice and freedom in world history than the United States. Our country isn’t perfect, but we are the most imperfect of all countries that have ever existed in the history of the world. No country has done more to lift up billions of citizens around the world into the bright light of freedom than the United States. We are still the shining city on the hill. There’s a reason why people still risk their lives every day to step foot on our soil and why protesters in other countries use our flag to argue for freedom — because we represent all that is good in the world.

But you know who is 100% on the wrong side of history?


While I know left wingers on social media take great delight in calling Donald Trump a Nazi, do you know which government is actually the closest to Nazis in the world today? The Chinese government. Like the Nazis, China is an authoritarian dictatorship which is intent on taking over land they don’t presently own. They just took over Hong Kong and ended democracy there without most of the world even noticing and they have their eye on Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Who knows what might come next?

While the Nazis burned books, the Chinese are pulling books that reference democracy out of Hong Kong libraries and they’ve made it an international crime to support Hong Kong protesters anywhere in the world. Think about that for a minute, China has made the support of Hong Kong democratic protesters a crime not just in China, but around the world. That means if you are a Chinese citizen who speaks out in favor of Hong Kong and then returns to China, they will arrest you for violating their laws overseas.

To China freedom of speech in America doesn’t exist because it conflicts with Chinese values.

If LeBron and other NBA players, coaches and executives were Chinese and ripped China like they rip America they wouldn’t be rewarded with more money, they would disappear.

Probably forever.

Along with some of their family members.

Like the Nazis under Hitler China has millions of Muslims in concentration camps, denies over a billion people basic human rights, and won’t allow their citizens to have the right to protest or free speech. There is no doubt that China is the closest thing to the Third Reich that exists in the world today. (Historical analogies are always imperfect, but if you’re looking for someone to compare to the Nazis on social media, it’s the Chinese, not, god forbid, Republicans in the United States).

As if that weren’t enough, China just unleashed a global virus that will kill many and drastically weaken democratic economies around the world. The coronavirus has already done more to destroy the American economy than Nazi Germany was ever capable of doing. The Chinese are a clear and present threat to global democracy and capitalism; their government hates everything we represent.

And for the most part, we haven’t been paying attention to what they’ve been up to. We’ve been too busy feuding inside our own country to recognize what China is doing to us and to the world. Why is that? Because China, which doesn’t allow its own citizens to post freely on the Internet, has seeded our social media sites with Chinese bots designed to spur division and discord. If we’re all fighting with each other, China knows we aren’t noticing what’s going on elsewhere. They can take over Hong Kong with barely a complaint being registered.

We’re in a cold war with China — which may one day turn into World War III — most people in this country just haven’t realized it yet.

That’s why Senator Hawley, who has traveled to Hong Kong to see the protests for himself, is so right to be questioning the NBA on China. NBA players, coaches, executives and the media claim to be woke, but they need to be shaken awake when it comes to China.

Just last week NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressed “mutual respect for Chinese values.” Most in the media didn’t care or notice. Silver wasn’t asked which part of the concentration camps and modern day book burning he most respected in China, but he should have been asked these questions immediately.

I suspect deep down ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski knows this too, it’s why he reacted so angrily at the mention of the NBA’s hypocrisies in an email. Deep down Woj knows he’s taken money over truth, become a captured member of the NBA media, too afraid to actually speak truth to power for what it might mean to his own salary and his relationships in the NBA, Disney and ESPN. He knows he should be holding the NBA’s feet to the fire over China and he’s not doing it because it might hurt his own brand.

If social media influencers had existed in the days of Nazi Germany, Hitler would have flown them over and let them pose in swastika bikinis in exchange for cash to spread Third Reich propaganda in our country. #seegermanyisntbad

It’s what the Chinese are doing with the NBA today.

While the NBA is busy trying to tear down American institutions, China is busy trying to tear down the world. China is using the NBA to spread its propaganda around the world. When NBA players take the court in jerseys with political statements ripping American institutions, the Chinese will take those images and use them to show their people that America is a flawed and broken land. That democracy and capitalism don’t work; effectively the NBA is doing China’s bidding, shutting up and dribbling for a communist regime, the closest thing to Nazis that exist in the world today.

The NBA is, without question, on the wrong side of history on China, the issue most of these players will ultimately be judged for.

If Nazi German could have given out shoe contracts to American athletes they would have, now China does the same thing. There’s only one catch, in exchange for the millions of dollars you receive, you have to sell your soul.

Now to be fair, the NBA is not alone. Many American corporations are doing exactly what the NBA is doing, selling out America for communist cash. They are all looking the other way on China’s blatant human rights violations in favor of communist loot, the modern day equivalent of taking Nazi money before World War II began. But the NBA, courtesy of Daryl Morey’s Tweet supporting Hong Kong and the league’s decision to embrace politics, is at an important inflection point in its history.

They can still make the right choice.

They can still put #freehongkong on player jerseys, they can still support human rights around the world, even if it costs them money in the short term. And, regardless, can you really put a price on freedom?

Right now in the NBA you can, it’s a few billion dollars from China.

So the question is out there which the league still hasn’t answered: will the league continue to shut up and dribble for its Chinese masters or will they acknowledge that the most American thing they could do is stand up to China and insist that China become more like America, instead of allowing China to insist America become more like China?

This is the time for the NBA to make a choice: are they willing to continue to accept billions in Chinese cash while selling American values down the river or will they truly step up and ensure they are on the right side of history?

Are they the slavemaster continuing to uphold mental slavery or will they fight for freedom around the world?

These are the choices you face when you decide to be a global brand instead of a national brand, you can’t just look inward and pick at the scabs of American life, you must look outward and spread American values far and wide. Ensure that the next generation of basketball players, whether they are born in Beijing, Beirut or Boston, have the same freedoms and basic human rights as you.

Will the NBA players, executives and media that covers the league support Hong Kong and democracy around the world or will they continue to be Chairman Mao’s stooges, woke basketball emperors who were so asleep at the wheels of American justice that they didn’t even realize they were actually wearing no clothes at all?

The time to answer that question is now.

And make no mistake the right side of history is clear — it’s opposing everything that China value. And right now the NBA, which claims to be the wokest American sports league, is on the wrong side of history, asleep at history’s wheel.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.


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  1. With China’s recent bold moves in re-taking Hong Kong and potentially seizing Taiwan, anyone else circling back to the idea that Covid was intentionally manufactured and spread? China is the only country benefiting from Covid-19….
    -a way to manage overpopulation in poor areas (Wuhan)
    -dependence on Chinese products during an outbreak
    -distraction created to finally take back Hong Kong and Taiwan
    -create chaos in other countries meanwhile pumping propaganda for how great China has handled the crisis within its own borders

    Doesn’t seem too far fetched…

  2. Steve Kerr, international man of virtue, could not be reached for additional comment, as he is still researching these complex issues by reading back issues of Rolling Stone. However, Rachel Nichols reports that he and Gregg Popovich will be holding a joint press conference — well, more a lecture series — and vintage wine tasting in the Disney/NBA Bubble to discuss their preliminary findings, including 1) Hong Kong’s troubling imperialist ambitions and NRA membership which have been hidden by the Trump administration; 2) why Yao Ming is definitely the GOAT personage of basketball other than Xing James; 3) how the Uighurs were caught secretly trying to open Chick-Fil-A franchises in the Xingjiang region with sexist hiring practices and substandard food safety protocols, which is why they have been sent to an all expenses paid re-education resort for their own good and self-improvement.

  3. Enjoyed the read…my add for the group in the NBA, for their hats’, “MAA … Marxists Against America”. The line is drawn …to all the players and anyone else interested… time to wake up ❤️🇺🇸

  4. Did you listen to Cowherd’s Saturday Morning podcast with Nick Wright? The topic was the hypocrisy of the NBA’s relationship with China. I would love to listen to a virtual fireside chat with you, Jason, Colin, and Nick on this subject.

  5. Clay–

    Thanks for taking an unequivocal stand on the NBA China issue. Since Outkick is all about the facts, the facts, and more facts, here are few facts about China.

    The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its ruling party, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are the world’s undisputed murder champs: The PRC/CCP murdered approximately 76 Million human beings in the 20th Century. That makes the PRC/CCP almost 4 times more lethal than the Nazis, who killed approximately 20 Million people. (See, https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM)

    Unlike the evil Nazis who thrown from power when they were defeated by the Allies in 1945, the CCP still maintains its authoritarian grip on the Chinese people today. In 2020, by unleashing the Corona Virus on an unsuspecting world, the current 2nd generation of mass-murderous CCP leadership has killed over 670,000 human beings, including over 150,000 US citizens (and many thousands of Black-Americans). The PRC is also the primary source of illicit fentanyl, which has killed over 100K US citizens during the last few years through drug overdoses.

    From 1980 to 2016 the CCP limited Chinese families to one child, which lead to millions of abortions, forced sterilizations, and orphaned girl babies. The CCP modifed its policy in 2016 to permit families to have two children, as the radical one child policy created enormous demographic issues for the CCP.

    In addition, even as the NBA currently “partners” with the PRC, the CCP is committing mass-scale human rights violations through its incarceration of over 1 million Uyghur people in Xinjiang province, site of the NBA’s now shuttered youth training facility, where allegedly child abuse occurred. Some reporters believe that in certain areas of Xinjiang province as many as 34% of Uyghur women of child bearing age are subjected to forced sterilization procedures by the CCP. Are these the Chinese values that the Commissioner respects? Or it the CCP’s use of modern-day slave labor used to make sneakers that it the NBA really respects since it leads to more profits in its pockets?

    Inquiring minds want to know. #freelebronsbrain

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